December 14th, 2007
04:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Clinton: I wasn't behind drugs remark

Clinton said Friday she did not authorize an advisor to raise Obama's drug use.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton publicly denounced a former top advisor's comments on Barack Obama's admission of past drug use Friday, the New York senator's first public remarks on the matter since the advisor announced he was resigning from the campaign.

"As soon as I found out that one of my supporters and co-chairs in New Hampshire made a statement, asked a series of questions, I made it clear it was not authorized, it was in no way condoned, I didn't know about it, and he stepped down," Clinton said while campaigning in Iowa.

Clinton was referring to her campaign’s New Hampshire co-chairman, Bill Shaheen, who told a Washington Post reporter Wednesday that Obama's chances of winning a general election would likely be hindered by his use of drugs as a young man.

An Obama spokesman immediately called the comments "desperate," and Clinton's campaign soon issued a statement saying they had not authorized, and did not condone, the remarks. On Thursday afternoon, Shaheen announced he was resigning his post.

Speaking Friday on Iowa Public Television, Clinton noted she personally apologized to Obama for the remarks, and said the "gentleman in question has stepped down."

Clinton also emphasized that she did not intend to make Obama's onetime use of drugs an issue in the campaign.

"There are a lot of differences between us, and those are the contrasts that should be drawn," she said. "I'm running a campaign about who I am, what I've done and that's what I'm going to stay focused on."

Related video: Clinton aide resigns

Earlier: Clinton adviser steps down after drug use comments

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    In response to the one from Kansas that says Obama would have made a great VP candidate if he hadn't gotten so arrogant–RIGHT BACK AT YA! Obama is on the receiving end of these ridiculous statements and people from the HRC Campaign keep resigning-Seems to me all the arrogance is on your side of the fence! Nothing new about that! OBAMA 08!

    December 14, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. David, Atlanta GA

    Hillary's nearly hourly mention of her appology is disingenuous. She intentionally brings up the baseless drug pedaling suggestions again EVERY time she mentions her appology.

    The Clintons have mastered the politics of personal destruction. In this case they are panicing because the realize her coranation is not a done deal.

    December 14, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Sam (Belleville, MI)

    My favorite comments on all these postings is when someone says: "I'm a Democrat, but if [insert least-favorite candidate here] wins the nomination, I'll vote Republican." If you do so, you aren't truly a Democrat. If you were, you'd either vote for a 3rd party or sit it out, but NOT vote GOP. That's just silly.

    December 14, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Mark, NC

    This is total BS. The main problem,for those of you who don't read, is Hillary SUGGESTED HE WAS A DRUG DEALER!!! Bill, Gore, Bush and other white politicos HAVE NEVER BEEN ASKED IF THEY SOLD DRUGS. She got her mission accomplished. She has now tried to lable Obama as a drug dealing, money lundering, ambitious kindergarden sleeper muslim agent. All from her staff. None of the Biden, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd or even Repub campaigns had a hand in this. This man surely does not deserve this. Knock his positions but not his character!!! This is too low. Nominate her and I'll stay home. Dems need to quite eating their future. Way to unite the Dems Hillary!!! 😦

    December 14, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Ben, Loda Illinois

    A Clinton being responsible to slander and slime... no way... you have to be kidding me. CNN you are responsible for propping this horrible candidate up all along the way. I want a bright future, not a blighted past.

    December 14, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Ryan Indianapolis

    Clintons are pure Filth....

    December 14, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Tim, Omaha, NE

    What a crock... This is standard Clinton tactics – drop a bomb, see if it detonates, then claim you had nothing to do with it. We've seen it too many times in the past.

    On the "drug issue," discussions I've had with people I work with (mostly conservatives) lead me to believe something done when a child or during the teenage won't affect many voters. Later in life, yea, but not teenage garbage. How many people made it through college without at least one thing they'd rather forget?

    December 14, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. demwit

    How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?

    Her lips are moving.

    December 14, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Mike, Owosso, MI

    What does it matter? A black man can not win the big one in 2008 with a 70% white population. Thats just the way it is....

    December 14, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Chuck, Miami Fl

    So did Obama sell drugs? We know he used but did he sell? Now imagine a national TV ad like this.
    What are you going to do Obama? Harold Ford of Tennessee knows what Im talking about and I’m sure you all know what happened to him.
    So when someone can explain to me how Obama is going to deal with this, Im convinced he will suffer the same fate as Ford. Hillary did a dirty little political trick, well are any of you surprised? Edwards will take Iowa.

    December 14, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Mason, Wales, WI

    It came from your staff, you are responsible for it.

    December 14, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Tasha, FL

    Her top campaign staff is much smaller than the White House cabinet/staff and she can't even manage them, what the hell is she going to say if she is elected??? I didn't authorize those two emails. I apologize, I did not authorize that tax cut for corporations, I did not authorize that war, I didn't authorize that mandate...ok Hillary since you have sooooo much experience...exactly what did you authorize that was successful??

    December 14, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. pam Eugene OR

    Hillary is the past. We all know her dirty politics and lies.
    I am starting to think Obama/Edwards would be the perfect ticket. Even if it had to be Edwards/Obama it would still be far better than anything that involves Clinton on the ticket.

    December 14, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. deroy WPB, FL

    no, "i wasn't behind it".

    i was in front of it.

    she's unqualified and has NO experience other than that fake senate seat.

    December 14, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. QE II :)

    PLEASE, Hillary!!!! Yea, and I'm the Queen of England!

    Of course she was behind it and now that it is backfiring (because the US is tired of the status quo and dirty, negative politics) she of course is saying she had nothing to do with it. Her TOP advisor in NH said it...don't you think he'd consult HER before talking to a huge newspaper first?

    She was 100% behind it and I am completely disgusted by her. At least Obama is genuine and truthful about his past...unlike the man Hillary is conveniently married to.

    America is sick of this dirty politics and want FRESH and HOPE brought back to the White House. Obama is the man for the job!

    December 14, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Hillbillary, Hillbillary, Hillbillareeeee
    Christmas is here and your lying to meeeeee~~~

    December 14, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. sean,metamora,IL

    so many things come out of her camp that she has no idea about, If she cant run her own staff why should we believe she can run a country.

    December 14, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. Elizabeth, Washington, D.C.

    Fellow Democrats, please vote for real change. Vote for Obama. Hillary can not be trusted. She has made so many conflicting promises to so many audiences. How can you take some one seriously when she changes her answer on immigration in a matter of two minutes? Which is the real Hillary? I have been a Democrat since 1976, a liberal one for that matter. But I can not in good conscience support a Hillary campaign– in the primaries or in the general election.

    December 14, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Jennifer, Savannah, GA

    How many times will HRC be allowed to say, -"I WASN'T AWARE OF", "I DON'T KNOW", "I WASN'T A PART OF"- before her supporters realize that those phrases sound familiar. We, Americans, are getting the same exaggerated rhetoric now-and this will continue with her. Therefore, the problems we're having in Congress will continue. Yet–HRC tries to portray that she will change. The public is SIMPLY receiving a DOSE of what to expect IF ELECTED. So the question is-Is this the reason her supporters are working so hard for her–TO ASSIST WITH THE DEMISE OF THIS COUNTRY?

    December 14, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. Lawdog90

    This is a pathetic display of leadeership.

    December 14, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. Rose Hann New London, CT

    There are times when it is what it is. I believe Senator Clinton knew nothing about the remarks of her co-chair. It's the media who loves to repeat the same ole same ole over and again.
    Hillary is extremely intellegent. Why when we are crunching numbers in these early states make a statement that would discredit her. Anyone who thinks otherwise, is out there.
    Quite honestly I'm sick of the media changing perceptions, especially for the nieve and there are many. IOWA? These states are getting a lot of moey and waaaay to much atention.

    December 14, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  22. Manny CA

    Hillary was vetted for many years, nothing about Hillary is a secret anymore; anything people wanted to know about Hillary is already known.

    Why is it Obama advisers are reluctant to drop the issue? Its their own hunger for campaign contribution using anything they heard against Obama even if its TRUE would be the downfall of Obama. Anytime they hear something negative about Obama even IF it came from the mouth and book of Obama, Obama campaign use it to get more campaign contribution. Obama have done this so many times, short of cash accuse Hillary, he did the same thing accusing her about the writeups of Robert Novak. You've been had by Obama, but fail to recognize it.

    Mind you, COCAINE USE is a SERIOUS matter. I don't think the American people are ready to have a cocaine user make a decision for them in the Whitehouse.

    December 14, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. Rose Hann New London, CT

    The post from AJ from IL sounds like he's unwell and unread. It saddens me the amount of rediculous accusations that fly. Polarizing? As though thats a reason for infidelity. Get a life, people make mistakes and that one has been paid in full and belongs to Bill, Hillary and Celsea. what planet are you from to leave initials instead of your name. IL apparently doesn't have a lot of Yale grads.

    December 14, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  24. YoMama, Nowhereville

    This is disingenous. They guy already quit, now Hillary goes on TV to talk about it. This isn't about "expressing remorse" this is about keeping the story in the news.

    December 14, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  25. Marcus, Dallas, TX

    "What's wrong about that drug remark? Odama's past is fair game and all the campaigns have the right to talk about it. Obama should not use this to raise money."

    Posted By Dan, Cedar Rapids, Iowa : December 14, 2007 2:37 pm'
    Dan, what about Bill's infidelity, why don't we just bring that up also. How 'bout the statement that President Ford made "He (Bill Clinton) has a sex problem and needs to seek professional help". Oh! but every thing's "fair game" right?

    December 14, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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